Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 1 in Betongolo

So, now Michael is in the office, doing office stuff.  But it sounds like by early afternoon he’s out and about in the field doing traditional work.  And he’s getting a few laughs…

Subject:  "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming..."

First things first. I'm in the mission office right now, using a mission computer for emailing. Benefits of working in the office!

We had a party with Sr. Vero in Mahajanga on Monday evening, which was way fun. She and her two daughters have been members forever, but her husband never joined the church because he was "too busy" to learn from the missionaries. But he made it to the party and it turns out that he's way cool! A way nice guy. I think he could be a really cool member one day. We just need to help him desire to join the church.

Actually, Elder Hamm and his new companion need to help him do that, because I have moved on to a new place.

Saying goodbye to people was sad, and it only got worse when Florent, one of our best investigators, had to drag the goodbye on for like twenty minutes. We kept trying to say that I would call him sometime and catch up with him then, but as soon as we tried to turn to walk away he'd start thanking us for all the awesome work that we do, saying that we're such good people, God will be with us... he did that like four times. I love the guy to death, but I am definitely not a fan of long goodbyes.

The bus ride here was a nightmare and a half. We were supposed to leave the bus station at 7:30am and show up around 7:30pm, but the bus got delayed for an hour and a half and then just decided to not go at all, because there weren't enough people in the bus (and thus, not enough money for the driver). Another bus driver volunteered to take us, and we set out at 9am.

We then stopped for the longest gas stop of my life, no joke. The worker shot about 40 liters of gas in the tank right away, but took fifteen minutes filling up another 12 liters. Agonizing.

But we started out again after that. Assuming the bus travels at a decent speed the whole time, we should have shown up at our destination around 9pm. Late, but no biggy.

The worst thing happened at exactly 2:35, when we had to stop for a bridge that was closed down for repairs. It looked pretty strong to me, but they closed it. Apparently they shut the bridge down every day from 2:30 to 5:30, so we just missed it. Thanks a lot, gas station guy.

So we waited for three hours. I wandered out onto the bridge and took a couple pictures of the scenery, which was some awesome streams/waterfalls and the setting sun. That was nice. I also read some conference talks that I had brought with me, and talked with a couple people. In fact, I met a lady that was 75% Arab and 25% Malagasy, born in Mahajanga, and speaks Malagasy, French, and English. So we talked for a little bit. Apparently she lives in Manchester, England and was visiting her family. There's a cultural mosh for you!

After that we didn't have any more stops or problems on the bus ride, and showed up in Tana just after 1:00am. Good thing the office elders had been sleeping in their car waiting for me since 8pm!

I was also super tired because of this overly-polite Muslim guy in front of me that kept poking me while I was trying to sleep, asking if I was comfortable enough. For the fiftieth time, I'm fine, now let me sleep! But I guess he was trying to help, so kudos to him.

That bus ride was on Wednesday, and Thursday the office elders were invited to attend the lunch that President holds for new missionaries that just showed up in country and their trainers. Usually only the assistants attend that, but they made an exception for some reason that I don't know (maybe because it would have been lonely without us? There were only two new missionaries this transfer).

Anyway, during that luncheon (fancy word) I got laughing harder than I probably have through my entire mission. It turns out that President has an awesome sense of humor, which I didn't know about before.

Add that to the fun (and work) that we've been having in the office for the last couple days, and this has been a great start to my last three months here. The senior couples are awesome, and I actually enjoy doing some office work. Who'd of thought?

We also live in an apartment right above the assistants, one of whom was in my MTC group and the other is the trainee of my second companion. Small world, huh?

But they are both way fun, so this is going to be a great time!

Somebody mentioned that Elder Naef, who just got home, is moving into Brookwood ward. I've met him a couple times, and it'll be great to see him soon!

Mom also mentioned Oregon strawberries. I admit, I didn't like strawberries before my mission (and I can't eat them here because they can cause serious problems), but I will love them when I get home! I've grown an appreciation for fruits and vegetables. I guess all those old people were right about telling me to eat healthy foods!

I guess that's just about my whole week. My new companion is named Elder Turner, and he's definitely a new kind of companion for me. I don't want to say that he's a nerd... but he's definitely a smart kid. And a licensed pilot. Since he just got finished training, he's also the youngest missionary that I've ever worked with.

But life is good. Elder Turner is a good missionary and got to baptize a kid that he had been teaching for a while on Saturday. We've also been doing a lot of contacting trying to build up a good investigator pool.

And that's pretty much been my week. Thank you all for your emails! I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

PS: for those of you that are wondering about the office elder schedule, we do studies like normal, work in the office until two or three, and then go out to teach like a normal missionary. So we still get to teach a little bit!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 24 in Mahajanga

And apparently his final week in Mahahanga.  With just 3 months to go, and just 2 transfers remaining, Michael is moving on….

Subject:  "You don't know the power of Styrofoam!"

DSCF0584I keep trying to not mention it, but... time is FLYING!

Elder Hamm and I keep having these moments where people ask us how long we have left on our missions and one of us says "three months". Then we look at each other and realize just how short that is. It's terrifying.

We just got transfer news yesterday. I am getting transferred to... the mission office! I'll be Madagascar's newest office elder. I hear that the office elders still get to teach almost as much as everyone else thouDSCF0586gh, so that's good. The area they work is called Betongolo, which means "big onions".

Also, my companion-to-be was just trained in the office, so I have as much time left in Madagascar as he has finished so far. I don't imagine that will make either of us less trunky.

Actually, I really haven't really had to deal with trunkiness yet. It's not that I don't love and miss you all in America, but I've been able to just focus on the mission. It also helps that all of my companions have been way awesome so far (and this new kid, whose name I forget, sounds super cool. Apparently he's a licensed pilot?), so they keep my mind away from home.

DSCF0578Some people would think that spending so much time in Antananarivo would be a lame way to end a mission, but I honestly couldn't think of a better way. Hanging out with mission president, being able to buy souvenirs (and a suit?), possibly learning to drive stick-shift... But all those things are coming up later. Let's focus on the present.

This last week was not our best for teaching. We caught far less times than we hoped, but it wasn't our fault. People just don't know how to respect a time that they give you. But that's okay. We got in three hours of contacting, and contacted some sixteen people, most of which seem way cool.

DSCF0602I'm kind of sad to be leaving Mahajanga right now, because we're starting to find some super cool people that I want to teach. But, that's life. My new pilot companion and I will just have to find even cooler people in Betongolo!

Florent came to church yesterday, which means that he is that much closer to baptism. That guy is going to get dunked for sure. He'll have to sort out some misunderstandings, like his idea that magma is heated by the fires of hell, therefore, hell is inside the earth. But he likes learning and is reading like a madman, so he'll be a great member here very soon.

The branch isn't doing to well, but it goes through phases. A couple of the young men DSCF0617got in a fight on Saturday which made a few people angry, mostly parents, but I think that they have it sorted out well by now so that shouldn't be a problem any more. I hope.

We started teaching a lot of new people that seem way cool, but since I won't see them again I don't think it would be effective to talk about them. Suffice it to say, the missionary replacing me (a Malagasy) should have a great time teaching with Elder Hamm.

Definitely the highlight of the week was Sandratra getting baptized by Ulrich. Ulrich was baptized in December and gave us Sandratra as a referal in March. Now Ulrich got to baptize him. Good for him. Those two are going DSCF0607to be studs in the church, and Sandratra is thinking about going on a mission. Ulrich will be going as soon as he can.

I learned a couple of new Malagasy words this week. A member was trying to teach me "manifikifika" which means to shake, like you would if you burned your hand. After a minute I tried to double-check the word so that I could write it down and said, "the word was manofokofoka, right?" Wrong. That word means to be die-hard about something, and apparently it's funny, because the member couldn't stop laughing for like five minutes.

DSCF0612I tried to apply those words the next day and said it wrong again, this time coming out as "manorokoroka" which isn't technically a word, but could apparently be defined as "going around kissing people" (it comes from the word "manoroka", in case you were wondering). Again, the members with us broke out laughing. Hey, life is funny.

I will definitely miss some of the members here, many of whom are just the coolest buddies you could ask for. They are great people.

And so, my time in Mahajanga will end. But you know what they say. As one door closes...

So there's a bright future ahead, and life seems to only get better.

DSCF0622Thank you all for your emails, and know that I love you.

- Elder Arrington

PS: Dad, the new server thing works like a charm and downloads pictures super fast, so I was able to put a few more on than usual (with a few captions!).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 23 in Mahajanga

With what is approaching just 3 months remaining of his mission, Michael continues to focus so much on his investigators.  And we have some good pictures!

Subject:  "He died instantly. The next day."

I'm not sure if I ever told you all about Sandy. He was baptized back in September and went inactive immediately. We have been working with him ever since, and he always said that he would start praying again, but hasn't. This last week he finally just came out and said that there's no way he's coming back. He refuses to tell us what brought on this change, but his mind was set. He tried to give us back all his scriptures and asked to have his name removed from church records. Sandy is just done with the church.

DSCF0554So that's not the best way to start an email, but this week only gets better from there! We've started teaching a couple of men named Diambare and Florent, and that's going really well. They are reading and progressing well, and both said that they would come to church yesterday. Neither one did, but we can work on that. They also just focus well during the lessons and ask good questions, so we really enjoy teaching them.

There is also this guy named David that we just met, who we think will be a really good investigator, along with his family. We haven't gotten to teach him a full lesson yet, but we think he will be diligent. Only time will tell.

We've been working with Diam and his wife, Arlette, for quite some time now. Diam has been a member for a long time, but went inactive for a while. His wife is not a member and can't get baptized yet because they are not officially married. But that should be taken care of soon. Another problem is that two of their three daughters are over eight years old, and need to learn from the missionaries. To make things more difficult, the oldest one, about 11 years old, has been praying at a Catholic church with her friends rather than praying with her parents. The parents allow her to "make her own decisions".

DSCF0574For a while we have been trying to get the older one to come to church (the younger one comes all the time), but she always runs away to be with her friends instead. We've tried explaining about eternal families with her, but she likes being with her friends.

So now we've started talking to her friends, trying to get their families to learn, or at least to let the group of friends come to church with us. And yesterday, they came! We'll keep working on teaching the other families, but who knows? This little 11 year old girl could have given us more referals than 95 percent of the members here!

There's a man here named Jean Pierre, the nonmember husband of a less-active lady. The lady recently started coming back to church and asking us to teach them. Why? Some Jehovah's Witness people started teaching her husband, and she doesn't want him to follow them. Uh... okay?

So we've started teaching Jean Pierre. He's a nice enough guy, but I just don't know if he is going to progress. He keeps asking questions like, "why do churches try to prove each other wrong?" and "aren't ALL churches true?". Even those questions would be fine if he would listen to the answers. But he doesn't really. We answered all his questions the first time we met him, and the second time he asked EXACTLY THE SAME questions. Jean Pierre got about half-way through asking his questions before my companion stopped him and said, "look, if we try to answer all your questions then you won't remember the answers. But the simple answer is this. We believe that God wants you to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and we can explain why."

DSCF0536That's a solution that we have been using on a lot of people lately, including new people. I used to try to explain about authority, living prophets, modern revelation, etc. But just telling people that God wants them to be members of this church helps them make the commitment to get baptized. That's a useful thing.

This last Thursday we had a bunch of random and abnormal things happen, one of which I will share. I fell off of my back. Actually, I fell OVER my bike. One of the members here had done a front wheelie a while ago, and I, in of those moments where nothing seems like a bad idea, thought, "that shouldn't be too hard. I'll give it a shot!" I got moving and pulled the brakes way too hard, and flipped right over the handle bars. I wasn't injured, but I learned a lesson: don't try to do wheelies, especially on the mission!

This week has been really good, but as Mom said it, "Time is SERIOUSLY out of control"!

Keep up the good work everyone, and I'll see you soon!

I love you all,

- Elder Arrington

PS: I saw David's wedding announcement and realized that Gabby's middle name is Marina. For what it's worth, that's the Malagasy word for "true". That may not seem significant, but hey, knowledge is power.

Pictures:  Dad, I can't seem to connect to the server, but here's a couple pictures of:

- Elder Hamm and I with Hery and his family. Hery has been a member for about a year and just moved up here from Antananarivo (Tanjobato). They are a way good family.

- A guy that was chopping down half of his tree. I don't know him and the tree has no sentimental value to me, but it just seemed like a cool Madagascar thing.

- Bro. Paul. He's another good member, and just a good, happy guy.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 22 in Mahajanga

This week we got to talk with Michael for Mother’s Day!  And we talked for nearly two hours on Google Hangouts, which meant it was a video call.  It was awesome!  We loved seeing and talking with Michael on video—on the big screen, of course.  His smile was most impressive!


After that call, he still wrote an email!

Subject:  "There's like fifteen retainers in there!"

Sandratra is probably my favorite investigator right now. He can be serious during lessons and focus, but he can also laugh and just be a buddy outside of lessons. He learns at our English class every week, and he really is our friend, rather than just a person being taught. I wonder what it would take to get other investigators to be like that?

One of the biggest and most annoying things right now is getting people to church. Every week we challenge people to come to church, and they say they will. And then they don't. So we challenge them the next week, and they say that they will again. And they still don't come. Could it really be that hard to walk into a building full of nice people to pray to God on Sundays??

One of our investigators is particularly frustrating. Frank has been learning for a while and is a super nice guy, and will make a great member. But the guy will just not come to church! We've tried inviting him, preparing him, sending the branch president to pick him up, and yesterday we tried picking him up ourselves, and he still hasn't come once. He keeps saying that he will, but there is always SOMETHING that keeps him from coming. We don't want to drop Frank since he is still reading the Book of Mormon all the time and ready for baptism in every other way, but this church thing is getting ridiculous!

But alas, that is missionary work. That being said, we're making a lot of progress with less-actives, who are coming back to church now. We've got several that are back to full activity, for which we are grateful. Life is good.

We also just started teaching this guy named Stefano, who is going to be a stud. He accepted baptism right away, and should progress very quickly. He does have a problem with coming to church because he attends school on Sundays (every day, actually), but that will be over soon enough and he'll be able to be baptized then.

Another man that we have started teaching recently is named Xavier. He's the guy who's kid had his eye pulled out. Xavier is down for learning about the gospel and could be a really good investigator. Honestly, I'm getting kind of sad that we're finding all of these cool people right before I leave Mahajanga. But hey, there's plenty of missionaries out there that can teach and baptize these investigators just as well (if not better) than I could. Kudos to them.

Our power got cut off again this month, for probably the fourth month in a row. The power company keeps promising that it won't happen any more, but it does. It's not really that much of a problem for us since we just turn the power back on as soon as the people leave anyway, but still.

I'm afraid I really don't have much else to talk about this week. Life has been going really well, along with the work, and my companion is a stud, so we're enjoying the mission.

I love you all!

-Elder Arrington

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 21 in Mahajanga

Michael has great missionary stories again today, and gets a little scriptural!  About beating children?  The rest of us are looking forward to a call next Sunday for Mother’s Day!

Subject:  "Yeah... he took the red one."

We have been teaching Sandy ever since I came here to Mahajanga. He was baptized right before that, but went inactive immediately. So we've been trying to get him back to church.

He tells us that he will come, but always finds some excuse to keep him from coming. Twice a week we go out to his house and teach him, but he just sits there and says, "yeah, that makes sense. Good. Okay." Sandy says that he has no questions, so we can't prepare a lesson really to meet his needs. He says that he understands everything, and he'll come to church. And then he doesn't. Frankly, I've had it with him. We've done everything that we can to encourage him nicely, but I'm done with that. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Last Tuesday we started by talking about God's commandment to respect the Sabbath Day, and asked Sandy if he realizes that he is breaking that commandment. He responded by saying that he was just too busy, and it's not like God is going to hold him guilty for just not going to church. So Elder Hamm showed him James 4:17, which he had found just that morning for this purpose, which says, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." BAM! (James 4:17)

Sandy almost tried to laugh it off, but we didn't let up. I told him how sad and angry it makes me that he doesn't come to church. Not because I don't like visiting him, but because he could be so much happier in life, so much better, but he refuses to come to church.

Finally, like a hard nut that got hit just right, Sandy opened up and admitted that he had questions about the Restoration and the church, showing that he probably wasn't ready to get baptized when he did. Regardless, now that he has said that we can work WITH him to answer his questions, rather than just throwing out random spiritual thoughts that mean nothing to him.

I guess that sometimes people just need to be told that what they are doing is not acceptable. Correction is necessary sometimes. In fact, it says in Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with a rod, he shall not die.

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

(I've discovered the searchable scriptures on, hence all the scripture references)

We didn't beat Sandy with a rod (except for the "rod of my mouth", D+C 19:15), but I think that the correction was necessary. Now he can start moving forward.

That process actually worked out so well that we're setting plans to do the same thing to other people that have stopped progressing. We call it the "fire and brimstone" lesson.

We have thrown out a lot of baptism dates this last week, trying to get people progressing, and also trying to set the mood for the new investigators that we are finding. I won't be there to see them, but it should help them progress faster and encourage them to act more effectively.

We had a pretty funny story from a less active lady this last week. She told us about this man that she had known who had lived to be 105 years old. He wasn't really handicapped, just old and slow. But the guy hated it. Helene (the lady telling us the story) said that he would wake up every morning and pray to God to let him die. And eventually, he did. It probably didn't help that the guy didn't eat anything and drank nothing but two cups of coffee every day. Still, I just thought it was a funny image to see a guy just lying there on his bed, having just woken up, and praying, "come on God, you've had your fun. Now just let me die already!" Now that I think about it, it's not that funny. It's sad. But it was funny at the time.

I keep trying to stop mentioning Ulrich in every email home, but it's hard not to. This week Ulrich gave us yet another great referral: his brother. This brother, who's name I forgot to write down, and his wife seem very interested in learning, and they seem like they could be way good investigators. If this keeps up, eventually all the investigators that we teach will have come as referrals from Ulrich!

I've started making rice and loaka for myself every day. It's not the most luxurious meal, but it's healthy enough and fills you up, without costing a lot. Like, I could pretty easily survive on half of the monthly allotment eating rice as opposed to cereal and hamburgers. That could come in handy in college. Then again, Little Ceasar's has never been a bad "cheap food" option either...

So that's pretty much been our week here. I wish you all a great week and I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

PS: And I look forward to talking to the family on Mother's Day!

PPS: Mom, I guess you provided an early Mother's Day gift for a certain mother duck by saving her ducklings! Wouldn't you be grateful to somebody who helped out one of your ducklings when you couldn't do it on your own? (there's a sacrament talk somewhere in there...)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 20 in Mahajanga

This week was actually Michael’s 21st birthday.  Congrats to him!  It sounds like he spent the day watching general conference and coloring pictures…

Subject:  "You're very good. But she needs a lot of work."

General conference! It always takes a couple of weeks for us to get to watch it, but it came and our Mahajanga branch watched it this weekend. That was pretty fun. I'll admit that I spent a good amount of the last session drawing pictures with some four year old kids, but that seemed more reverent than letting the kids get rowdy so that their parents start yelling. Honestly, adults are way more annoying than kids sometimes.

Like you'll be teaching a family and the kids are sitting on the ground, drawing pictures of them meeting Jesus, quietly singing to themselves. And then the parents start screaming at them to "shut up while the white guys are preaching!"

We have to tell some parents that freak out during lessons to just cool their jets, since they are more of a disruption than their kids.
But it also makes me grateful that I was "born of goodly parents". Mom and Dad, thank you for having been patient with your kids (especially me) and setting such a great example. We certainly didn't make it easy for you, but you raised us well. Thank you!

DSCF0509But now, back to business. During general conference our branch made lunch for everybody between sessions, which meant that there was a whole lot of rice there. The rice here isn't processed, so there's always little rocks in it. Thus, people "mitsimpina vary," or cleaning the rice, which involves pouring the rice into large, flat dishes and pulling out the rocks and things. Quite a painstaking job, but most Malagasies do it at least twice per day, for their entire family. I tried it a little bit, and found out that I am also grateful for clean rice.

(I also cook rice here, but it's packaged, and thus it's been processed, so I don't have to worry about mitsimpina vary!)

Our teaching has been going pretty well. Haja (that barber that I said is named Hary) is progressing nicely, along with his co-worker. It seems that every time that we go there some other new person shows up and wants to learn from us too, so it's turning into a good way to contact new people. Go figure.

DSCF0505Of course it's not all good. Teaching in a barber shop is still kind of difficult, since the guys that work there could suddenly have to work at any moment. One of the guys was busy the last time we were there, and that made us pretty sad. We try to have them just set apart some time to close the shop so that we can have a focused lesson, but they won't do it yet. So we'll do the best with what we have.

Edmond came to watch general conference on Saturday, and loved it. His wife was sick, but when Edmond left after the afternoon session, he stopped and asked us for a copy of Doctrine and Covenants. I tell you, a missionary's heart jumps for joy when an investigator asks him that!

DSCF0479Our bikes have been nice, but it's also kind of a pain. The paths here usually aren't that bike friendly, and finding places to lock them up is especially difficult. Still, it's nice to be able to get to places so quickly. I had forgotten how fast you go on a bike!

Elder Hamm is still doing great. Actually, it's kind of nice to be with somebody from my MTC group. I remember a missionary from a while ago who mentioned that he doesn't like being the senior companion, because he feels like the junior has to accept everything that he says. Suggesting that they go to the grocery store is taken as an order to go, for example. Of course that's not how it really is, and the junior could say no if he wanted to, but the thought is always there. Still, it's nice to be able to see a companion as an equal rather than an assistant or secretary.

So life here in Madagascar has been going pretty good! No complaints, and we're just going to keep plowing ahead until the end!

I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

PS: Thank you everybody for your emails and your wishes!

PPS: I also got to scrape out the inside of a coconut shell. People mix coconut shavings into their rice to make it taste better!

PPPS: We had to hitch hike a ride home after a picnic with the branch last Monday, and the people in the back of the truck with us were way cool!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 19 in Mahajanga

Apparently Michael is the senior companion in this case (and technically the district leader since there’s no other companions there), although I’m not sure that really matters, as he says.

Is is true that he has an investigator named Hary that owns a barber shop?  Hary?

No pictures again today.  We’re going to have to get after that boy!

Subject:  I can’t sir.  It’s a liquid.

Sandratra, whom some of you may remember, is still just progressing like a stud. He's reading the Book of Mormon, coming to church, and has friends that are members. And he even came to a church activity earlier today. He's going to get dunked as surely as an Oreo gets dunked in a glass of milk.

That church activity, by the way, was one to remember. They kept telling everybody to be at the church early on Monday, because the bus that we would be riding out to the activity (a special bus that they were renting for the day) would be leaving at 7am sharp.

After they made that announcement, I turned to Elder Hamm and asked, "what are the odds that they actually leave at 7?"

"There's not a chance."

And so it was. We missionaries were a little late because we had stopped by the cyber in the morning to check emails before we headed out, but made it there by 7:45. About half of the other people were there. And the bus hadn't even come!

It was at least 9:30 before we left. But since we had been thinking that the ride there would be two hours and it was only half of that, it wasn't much of a loss of time.

The activity was alright, just hanging out and picnicking at a pretty nice area with a slow running river (or "temptation", in missionary terms). We had a fun time just hanging out with the members.

When we realized how late it had gotten, Elder Hamm and I started walking and hitch hiking. We got a ride decently soon, with this nice family that took us back to main Mahajanga in the back of their truck, for free! We tried to give them money, but they refused. Nice people.

And just a fun day.

The rest of the week went pretty well too. We did some tracting, which I have learned that I actually prefer over street contacting. It's just too awkward for me to grab random people off the street. Through that effort we found two new guys, named Fas and Tresh. They are brothers that go to college, and even though they were laughing a bunch with us, they got real serious when we mentioned our message, and they promised to read the First pamphlet and pray about it. They weren't there when we came back for our return appointment, but I'm sure we can hunt them down again this week.

We also taught this twenty year old guy named Hary who works as a barber. Since he lives pretty far away, Hary told us to just teach him in his "barber shop", so... we did. I wasn't sure how good an environment we could set up in a tiny little room with a door facing a busy street, but it actually worked out pretty well.

Hary, along with another barber that works there and his girlfriend, were very good and listened well. I got a little bit concerned when some random punk looking kid walked in to get his eyebrows trimmed, since he just didn't look like the type that would listen well. But boy was I wrong!

Even the new kid listened really well, and everybody accepted a First pamphlet and set up a return appointment when they could all be back there, including the random kid with freshly trimmed eyebrows. In fact, we were riding our bikes earlier this morning and that very kid waved at us and yelled, "don't forget about our appointment!" I wasn't expecting that. But sometimes it might be just the people that don't LOOK like they need the gospel who want it the most. Go figure.

Dad sent a picture of Steven going to Mormon Prom this week with...

HER. When I first saw the picture it was stretched out, so I was like, "when did Steven get so fat?". But then I downloaded it and it showed up stretched out the other way, so I thought, "oh, Steven's not fat.

He's tall!" I don't know what to think about that any more, but suffice it to say that Steven, whatever his dimensions may be, is looking good. Way to be kid.

Side note, I recently asked Elder Hamm if he had trained yet on his mission, and he revealed that not only has he never trained, but he's never been the senior companion! He's gotten close a couple times, but I'm as close as he's ever gotten to a junior companion (and, just for the record, I am older by like two months. Just saying.). He joked that if Elder Horne gets sent up here this next transfer (one of the other elders from our MTC group) Elder Hamm could end his mission having never been the senior companion at all!

That's okay though. Except when training, being the senior companion doesn't really mean much. The senior works with his junior as an equal, and both people get a say in decision making.

And that's pretty much been our week. Crazy delayed activities, teaching awesome people, and all that good stuff. And oh yeah, a rat ran across my foot in one of our lessons yesterday.

You gotta love life on the mission!

I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

PS: Emily, thank you for your email!